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Palgrave Macmillan

The Plausible World

A Geocritical Approach to Space, Place, and Maps

ISBN 9781137364586
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

In The Plausible World, the intersections of literature and cartography enable readers to understand that place is anything but purely geographic: a plausible world is created as a strategy to fill the void. Readers travel alongside navigators, pilgrims, literary characters, and artistic subjects as they experience the thrill of pure space through the exploration of the unknown. Here, political concerns such as the evolution in the orientation of maps, the establishment of meridians, and the naming of place in the image of the Colonizer all play out across the imagining of space and its shaping into place. Innovative in his approach, Westphal challenges the view that perceptions and representations of space are stable or straightforward.

Bertrand Westphal is a Professor of General and Comparative Literature at the Université de Limoges, France where he directs the "Espaces Humains et Interactions Culturelles" research team. He is the author of Geocriticism: Real and Fictional Spaces, as well as numerous works on geocriticism, Austrian literature, the Mediterranean, and the theory of the novel.

Amy Wells is an Associate Professor of English in the Applied Foreign Languages Department at the Cherbourg Satellite of the Université de Caen de Basse Normandie, France. She is a member of the research team Equipe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la Grande-Bretagne, l'Irlande et l'Amérique du nord [Interdisciplinary research team on Great Britain, Ireland, and North America] (ERIBIA), and she has published numerous articles on geocriticism and literary cartography including 'The Intertextual, Sexually-Coded Rue Jacob.'

1. The Multiplication of Centers

2. The Horizon Line

3. The Spatial Urge

4. The Invention of Place

5. The Measured Mastery of the World


"Admirably learned and wide-ranging in its exempla, Westphal's geocritical study de-centers and redraws the most cherished mappings of Occidental modernity, opening up place and space to postmodern incursions. Its chronotopic richness and theoretical adventurousness will repay careful scrutiny by contemporary cartographers of past, plural, and plausible worlds." - David H.J. Larmour, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Classics, Texas Tech University, USA, and author of The Sites of Rome: Time, Space, Memory
"A vast rhizomatic and immensely learned romp through the literary spaces of the last three thousand years. Wells's translation of Westphal's The Plausible World will put geocriticism firmly on the map." - Paul Allen Miller, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, University of South Carolina, USA
"The Plausible World digs deep into the archives of the literary and cartographic arts in order to show how maps are shaped by stories. In so doing, it takes us on a sometimes meandering, often playful, and always gripping voyage through the spatial history of the world, emphasizing mankind's fiction-fueled quest to know (and master) the smooth New Worlds that seem always to beckon to us from just beyond the horizon of that striated center we call home." - Eric Prieto, Professor of French, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, and author of Literature, Geography, and the Postmodern Poetics of Place
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